Author Archives: Sue

When is a sign not a sign? When it’s a ghostsign…

I’ve got an eye for signage and typography and without being an expert I certainly know what I like. And I love ghostsigns – those lovely, faded, handpainted signs you sometimes see on the sides of buildings. I first started … Continue reading

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Buffing up on Buffy speak…

I missed the now cult TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer first time around but I’m currently watching my way through the third series with my teenage daughter. Created by writer-director Joss Whedon, Buffy is an American TV series which originally … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bringing “Who’s on first?” to life with typography

I love the sound of words and I love looking at words. So, I tend to think that kinetic typography is a wonderful thing. Of course, it must be done well, otherwise it can just get in the way of … Continue reading

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The joy of slang

Love it or loathe it, slang (or non-standard English) is all around us. Language purists try in vain to impose rules that would keep language constrained to what they would define as ‘proper’ usage but the joy of English (and … Continue reading

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The lost art of letter writing

There’s a generation of young people for whom letters – especially handwritten letters – must seem old-fashioned and quaint. In an age of instant communication via text, emails, Twitter and Facebook, most young people won’t have written any letters themselves, … Continue reading

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The History of English – in 10 minutes

Back in 2011, The Open University produced a fun series of short videos called The History of English in 10 minutes. Produced by the Open Learn section of The Open University, these videos are a fantastic free resource to anyone … Continue reading

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Inspector Montalbano: the world of Italian hand gestures

With the nights drawing in and temperatures beginning to drop here in the UK, what a tonic BBC4′s Italian police drama Inspector Montalbano is proving to be. I can swap grey, chilly London for the gorgeous sunlit laneways and Baroque … Continue reading

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Diana Nyad: nominative determinism strikes again

On August 31 2013, record-breaking long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, aged 64, became the first person ever to swim the 110 miles of open water from Havana, Cuba, to Florida. She swam this distance in 53 hours and without the aid … Continue reading

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The Atlas of True Names: making the familiar seem strange

Did you know that Great Britain can also be called ‘Great Land of The Tattooed’? Not because of the popularity of tattoos in this country. Rather, it’s the name you arrive at if you look deeper into the etymology of … Continue reading

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We need to close the compound noun gap…

The English language comprises hundreds of thousands of words and is rich in phrases, idioms and other word combinations. And yet, sometimes even English struggles to convey exactly what you mean, despite numerous ‘borrowings’ of words from other languages. Dinosaur … Continue reading

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